News that Thailand has “cancelled” its Kra canal project and replaced it with a land bridge has excited Indian observers. But you cannot scrap a plan that has not been approved. India's media reports highlighting both Chinese aggression and Chinese failure say more about the country's tensions with China than its concern with the idea of a century-old canal in Thailand.
Beijing has pledged financing, materials, technology and manpower to build railroads, hydropower stations and other infrastructure projects in Southeast Asian countries under the BRI. But China continues to face enormous challenges getting projects off the ground in countries that need the investment most. US academic Murray Hiebert examines why.
China said that it would share year-round hydrological information of the upper Mekong with downstream countries during the recently concluded 3rd Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leaders' Meeting held via video conference. Will this help assuage fears that China is using the control of water flow in the Mekong as a lever, literally, to exert greater influence on the CLMVT (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand) countries in ASEAN? Chinese academics Zhai Kun and Deng Han warn that China and Southeast Asian countries must be wary of external forces politicising matters in the Mekong region.
The Thai military has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to Chinese largesse, however, it will be able to secure the military kit it wants and continue its exercises with the People's Liberation Army.
Thailand has terminated a China-led project on the Mekong River, following resistance by locals and conservationists. ISEAS visiting fellow Supalak Ganjanakhundee explains how this will affect the future of the Mekong River.
Thailand has been navigating between East and West in its policy of "complex engagement", implemented since its military coup in 2014. ISEAS visiting fellow Supalak Ganjanakhundee examines how Thailand is delicately conducting its relations with regions and countries such as the EU and US, China and Japan, as well as its closest neighbours in mainland Southeast Asia.
The Mekong river is ecologically rich, and a source of life in more ways than one. However, its system is being threatened by the construction of dams by China. Independent scholar Milton Osborne examines the impact of human activity on the Mekong delta.
The Kra canal project has been proposed and put on hold many times over the past three centuries. The latest effort comes in conjunction with China's Belt and Road Initiative, and has drawn both support and scepticism from within and outside Thailand. ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute senior fellow Ian Storey examines three potential game changers for the project.